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                Men, Masculinities, and Fatherhood: Sexuality, Race, and Religion in South Africa and the United States

Project Directors | Project Overview |Project Fellows | Events

Project Directors

Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, Director, Program in African American & Diaspora Studies,and Professor of French and Italian
Gilman Whiting, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Program in African American & Diaspora Studies

Project Overview: Beliefs Matter

We believe that religion matters; that religious beliefs and institutions shape public and private understandings of sexuality, fatherhood, and race, three of the most contentious and important topics in our times.  Our shared understandings and expectations for male ways of being and behaving figure prominently in how we understand these topics.  In other words, masculinity also matters when considering our common understandings of sexuality, fatherhood, and race.  We also believe that to understand our American context we need to see ourselves and these pressing issues through the eyes of others. This fundamental need for reflection drives us to comparative studies.  Given the long, complex, and tragic story of Africa and America, our ideal partners in this dialogue are colleagues and institutions in Africa.  To carry out this essential conversation we propose a three year research project comprised of scholar-researchers at Vanderbilt University in consultation with scholar-researchers from the University of Cape Town, South Africa primarily, the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (South Africa) and faith-based and secular agencies in both countries that deal with gender issues.

Project Fellows

Victor Anderson, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, African American Studies and Religious Studies
Anastasia Curwood
, Assistant Professor, African American Diaspora Studies
Frank Dobson, Director of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center
Kathryn Gines, Assistant Professor in Philosophy and African American Diaspora Studies
Tarik A. Smith, Director of Research, Race Relations Institute and Adjunct Professor, Psychology Department, Fisk University
Holly Tucker, Associate Director, Center for Medicine, Health and Society


Men, Masculinities, Fatherhood: Sexuality, Race, and Religion in South Africa and the United States: Dr. Graham Lindegger, Professor of Psychology, and Dr. Robert Morrell, Professor of History, both of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) spoke on "HIV/AIDS, Masculinity, and Questioning Illusions" and "Aspirations of Fatherhood amongst Male Students in South African High Schools" during this seminar which took place on July 12 through 17, 2006 (pdf). The event featured lectures, discussion, and the reading of Baba: Men and Fatherhood in South Africa.

Manliness and Its Discontents: The Black Middle Class and the Transformation of Masculinity, 1900-1930: Martin Summers, University of Texas-Austin, will deliver a talk on his recent book on April 5, 2007 . The CSRC is co-sponsoring the lecture with the Program in African American and Diaspora Studies.

Rap Sessions Town Hall Forum on Hip-Hop and Gender: The CSRC joined with other centers in co-sponsoring this event, which featured Bakari Kitwana, Joan Morgan, Tiffany R. Patterson, Rosa Clemente and Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, on April 12, 2007.